The US Department of the Air Force has established a new team to combat barriers to mental health, wellness and resilience for airmen, guardians, and their families.

The Fortify the Force Initiative Team, championed by the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force and Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force, had volunteers from a number of communities working to promote holistic wellness and address resiliency barriers since early 2022.

Their outreach efforts have generated more than 300 initiative submissions directly from airmen and guardians.

The new cross-functional team was initiated by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., to prioritise and staff these submissions for decision and implementation. It will include members from Department of the Air Force staff, Air Force major commands, and Space Force field commands.

“My challenge to the team is to overcome bureaucracy, connect stakeholders and perspectives to develop informed decisions, and to accelerate change in ways that are meaningful to our force,” Brown said in a recent memo.

Ease of access to mental health care

The CFT is tackling a wide range of ideas, including ease of access to mental health care, peer support programs, wellness resources, post-suicide analysis, climate risk factors, and a wide range of policies impacting the force. They will also represent the total force, including Airmen, Guardians, guardsmen, reservists, DAF civilians, and dependents.

The team is also supported directly by Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin, and Deputy Director of Staff Nancy Dolan, who has led the charge to bring in sister service representation and key partners, such as the Defense Health Agency, Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development.

The FFIT CFT is modeled after the recently created Barriers to Service Cross-Functional Team that examines existing recruiting policies and procedures to ensure they reflect the service members needed for the future.
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